Sunday, July 24, 2005

Summer of Singing Cicadas

Cicadas show up every summer. Semi is the japanese word for cicada. The ugly insect is the most efficient and loudest sound-producing insects in existence. But only the male sings to attract the females and different species have different songs so that they don't attract the wrong females. The loud noise produced by some cicadas actually repels birds. The males of many cicada varieties tend to group together when calling which increases the total volume of noise and reduces the chances of being eaten by birds.
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Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts between two to five years (some varieties upto 17 years). Most of this time, the nymphs (hatchlings) burrow underground. During the nymph stage, cicadas normally shed their skin four times, the last of these skins are the ones we find on the trunks of trees (above).
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Adult cicadas live for only 2 to 4 weeks, during which this time mating taking place.
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Please refer this site for pictures of different japanese cicada varieties :
http://homepage2.nifty.com/saisho/Zikade-e.html
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I hate cicadas. The chirping and the buzzing of cicadas drive me nuts. There are cicada killer wasps (another robust, giant insect but a solitary wasp). Cicada killer females use their sting to paralyze their prey (a paralyzed cicada, top). The female wasps are non-aggressive, harmless to human and rarely sting unless disturbed.
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This picture was taken near the Kawaramachi-Oike junction. On the way cycling home after drinking session with a group of friends last night.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

We stayed till quite late after you guys left. Went to karaoke. But ton and I left after a while. we were too tired and sleepy and cranky.
Ai Ling

Acrix said...

U use chloroform to anaesthetize those cicadas? I hate insects thou some of them are harmless~ Oh yah did u feel any shake in ur area?

Amanda Brightwell said...

ack bugs!

emotionalistic said...

A friend of mine told me some stories about the cicadas he saw in his apartment. He told me about the noise they make and how strong they are. He said that the cicadas are quite huge in size. I cannot really imagine how it looks like until you put up this post. Eewww....now i can really feel that i hate it so much. Is the cicada commonly found in Japan??

Primrose said...

To the chinese, cicadas are considered good luck. My mum has a jade cicada necklace which she claims, brings her good luck... (at the mahjong table, that is).

zbjernak said...

why the cicadas brown in colour?
not black meh?
with wings mah

the brown is baby cicada ah?

i like insects...
i once rare a giant beetle...but die 1 week later....hehehehehehhe

Patrick Leong said...

ailing : pear did mention about karaoke. i was a little tired, therefore left with eddie. so how is your new camera ?

acrix : no no. the ones that i collected from the tree trunks are just the skin shed by cicadas. i wouldnt dare to pick the living ones. the recent earthquake was in chiba. no, we did not feel any shake here.

amanda : yea. same here. hate bugs (beetles are ok, i mean the red ones, but not stag beetles) i dont like lizard as well.

emotionalistic : while i was living in malaysia, i have never seen a cicada before. yes, cicadas are very common in the summer here. they are really huge insects.

primrose : i heard about that too. jade cicada represents rebirth from the soil. it symbolizes immortality, life after death, prosperous descendants, longevity, forever youth and energizes good luck after series of a misfortune.

jbzernak : those are the casing of the nymph (skin shed by the hatchings). i think the nymph is creamy color. the skin is brown because cicadas burrow underground for so many years, therefore color of the soil.

Eddie said...

how come u and ai leng use Cicada as the blog post at the same time?

Elisa said...

me han encantado las fotos (^^)

Lrong said...

Kawaramachi-Oike junction... ii desu ne...

Patrick Leong said...

eddie : well, i guess it is coincidence. like what you have written in the chatbox, every summer is a cicada summer. it is not summer without the familiar buzzing and chirping of the insect. since summer now, it is a good time to write a story of the cicadas (i thought).

elisa : thanks for nice comment. i am glad you enjoyed the pictures.

lrong : ii desu ne ? kawaramachi-oike junction - you have some good stories to share ?

Mad Ethel said...

We have those here in the States too. I find their sound relaxing. I used to love to find the shells left over on the trees. I would pretend they were some creature from Star Wars. Ahh - the imagination; something todays children have lost.

Gallivanting Ash said...

The photos are no longer available :(